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Belgium in Brief: Where Can You Go?

Credit: Pixabay/Jonathan del Valle/CC

As Brussels Airport has reopened to travellers now that non-essential journeys are allowed again, Brussels Airlines reported full planes after the first day that flights could resume.

Brussels Airlines had 22 flights on 15 June, and everything went according to plan, according to the company’s CEO. “Tourist destinations such as Malaga and Rome are booming. Business trips to Vienna and Budapest are also doing well,” he said.

According to bookings, people are not afraid to fly again, and Brussels Airport expects over a million passengers over the summer, which is only 20% of the number of passengers in the same period last year.

The return to 100% will not happen before 2021 or 2022, or even later, according to the airport, but more North African and intercontinental destinations will be served soon.

For the time being, however, we will help you in figuring out where you can travel to as of 16 June.

Today we recap the latest figures, explain why the League for Human Rights is pointing its finger at the Belgian police, and report on a comic book hero taking on racial segregation.

With so much information, and so little time to catch up before it potentially changes again, here are some of the top stories from around the country to get you up to speed.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. First passenger with coronavirus symptoms refused at Brussels Airport

On Monday – the first day that flights resumed – one person was not allowed in Brussels Airport Zaventem, as the extra security check determined that the person showed symptoms of the coronavirus.

The person was not allowed to enter the airport building as the thermal cameras determined that their body temperature was higher than 38 degrees, and a medical check confirmed that they showed symptoms of the coronavirus. Read More.

2. Cheat-Sheet: Where can we travel to?

From 15 June Belgium officially reopened its borders to non-essential travel within Europe, but this new freedom is not as simple as it sounds.

Newly updated travel advice for numerous European countries aims to inform Belgians on the destinations that were reopening their borders to all travel. As it stands, several countries within Europe are imposing travel restrictions delayed timeframes, or simply not opening their border as of yet.

Quite simply, it is far from guaranteed you can go where you want to.

It’s confusing, it’s changing, but with that in mind, where can you go as of 16 June?

The European Commission has also launched an online platform on information to aid the resumption of free movement and tourism in the EU. Read more.

3. 55 new infections, 4 deaths in Belgium

55 additional people have tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium in the last 24 hours, according to figures by the Federal Public Health Service on Tuesday.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Belgium, since the beginning of the pandemic, to 60,155. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died from the consequences of the virus.

22 of the newly-infected people live in Flanders, 19 live in Wallonia, and 14 live in Brussels. Read more.

4. Belgian police called out for use of excessive force during lockdown

The League for Human Rights is pointing its finger at the Belgian police regarding abuse during the coronavirus lockdown, La Libre Belgique and La Dernière Heure reported.

The League’s accusations are based on testimonies of hard-core arrests collected in an analysis by its Police Violence Observatory, PoliceWatch, which was founded on 15 March 2020.

“We started this research after being alerted by testimonies of police abuse circulating on social networks and in the press,” said Saskia Simon, PoliceWatch coordinator. Read More.

5. Three jailed for pushing black teen onto train tracks

A white man who deliberately pushed a black 15-year-old onto the train tracks, as well as two white women who insulted and harassed the teen, have been given jail sentences of up to a year.

Prosecutors said the trio acted on racist motives for which Leuven’s criminal court handed them sentences of between nine months and one year. Read more.

6. Belgian comic book hero takes on racial segregation

The next comic book in the Lucky Luke series will finally put the spotlight on black Americans, the scriptwriter of the series told AFP on Monday.

Created by Morris in 1946, written by René Goscinny from the mid-1950s, Lucky Luke is a beloved Franco-Belgian comic book series. Read More.

7. State virologist ‘concerned’ by packed terraces at the weekend

Belgian state virologist Steven Van Gucht is “concerned” after seeing the terraces of bars and cafes packed at the weekend, the first since their reopening after months of lockdown.

“Those scenes from last weekend, I’m a bit concerned about that,” Van Gucht said on Flemish TV program Terzake. Read More.

Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini 
The Brussels Times

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